“A superbly stylish stopover in the oft-overlooked town of Lancaster, near the Lakes and the M6 motorway”
Dramatic, huge and utterly comfortable: it’s hard to fault the 5 rooms that are spread over the hotels 3 floors. Colours are bold but natural - think moss, slate and silt - giving the rooms a cocoon-like feel, and beds have a sensuous mix of materials from silk bedspreads to suede bedheads and immaculately starched duvet and pillow covers. James admits that chairs are his obsession and funky chairs he’s unearthed over the years have been refurbished with fabrics that inject youthful colour and panache into the rooms. Look out for the quaint "conversation chair" in the vast Attic room, one of our favourites. The 3 Grand rooms are larger than the 2 Classics, but the latter are just as sumptuous and have views over the garden.
But it’s the bathrooms that take the prize. Tiled in black porcelain, with underfloor heating, no expense has been spared to achieve a look that’s downright upmarket. Classy REN toiletries and whiter than white bathrobes complete the picture. Choose the bathroom that suits your needs: the ground floor room, Chocolate, has both a shower and a roll top bath; while Plum upstairs, has a double shower. Some have no door between bedrooms and bathroom/loo, so if this is a problem ask for a room where bedroom and bathroom are clearly separated.
Breakfast, served 8.00-10.00 am, includes the usual buffet of cereals and fruit juices (sadly not freshly squeezed), and a special daily dish - when we visited it was poached pears with blueberries, yoghurt and toasted almonds. There’s an imaginative choice of hot dishes - we had Port of Lancaster Smokehouse’s smoked salmon, with scrambled egg, though it was a close run choice with the pancakes with maple syrup and dry cured bacon. If you go for the works, the bacon and sausages, both from the butchers in Milnthorpe, are superb.
Supper is available on request Monday to Thursday. James whips up meals based on the number of guests eating and their tastes. It’s the food he cooks for his family, so expect top notch simple food. You get a main course which could be anything from soy glazed salmon to chicken pie, accompanied by home baked bread, a salad or a side dish and followed by dessert and coffee. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday a platter of locally sourced meat, fish and cheeses with salad, chutneys and home baked bread can be arranged - all you have to do is ask!
If you want to venture out to eat in the evening, James has a good list of recommended places. Top of the list is a French bistro in town called Quite Simply French, followed by Bistro 26. If you’re after rural gastronomy, head for The Highwayman Inn at Burrow, near Kirkby Lonsdale. Try the Morecambe Bay brown shrimps. And wash them down with glass of Lancaster Blonde, the local beer.
This isn't really a hotel for children, but you are welcome to bring them. There are no cots or high chairs, but an extra bed can be put in the Attic Room for one child up to the age of 14 years. After that they require their own room, so a stay here would work out quite pricey. There is no specific children's menu, but they can be catered for with advance notice.